Interview: Josh Berwanger of The Anniversary

Josh Berwanger, Baby Loses Her MindJosh Berwanger is probably best known as the former lead singer of the Anniversary. A decade after the band’s break up, Berwanger has reemerged with his first solo record called Strange Stains. We sat down to talk to him about the Anniversary, Zima, and coaching high school basketball.

When the Anniversary broke up was there ever a time when you felt like you might be done in music?
Yes, most definitely. Although it was after the Anniversary broke up and I started a band called the Only Children. I felt we made a really strong record. Then we went on tour and it was the worst tour I had ever been on. I would look in magazines and see bands on tv and just thought they were mostly all terrible and had a hard time wondering how that shit was having success and I couldn’t find it anywhere suddenly. So I moved to Canada and took a break from music altogether.

Post-Anniversary, you took a job coaching high-school basketball, were your players aware of your musical past? Were any Anniversary fans?
In all honesty I would say a higher percentage of people who play sports don’t really have their heads wrapped around what I would consider good music. When I would drive the team to away games they would take control of the radio and they would put on Top 40 pop and there would be all these lyrics about partying and getting fucked up and having one-night stands and listening to the players sing along to that always made me sick to my stomach. On the other hand they could never get through more than a minute of one song without changing the station. I guess that is commentary on its own about appreciating mediocrity.

11 years after the Anniversary’s break up you’re releasing your debut solo album. What prompted you to want to get back into releasing music?
1.) Being constantly drunk on Zima.
2.) I never stopped writing music. I love writing, recording and performing more than just about anything (excluding Zima). I can’t live with regret, and I would be very regretful if I didn’t pursue this opportunity. It was really silly of me to be pissed about bands that suck who have success, that’s the way its always been. I can’t worry about what I can’t control and there is no ceiling for bands that can have success, maybe I just need to get a guy as good looking as Fabio in my band to have more of it.

The album is called Strange Stains. Does the title have any significance?
A lot of the lyrical content is just about life, relationships, and how strange it all is. Stains to me are like memories some you can rub out while others forever remain.

What can Anniversary fans expect from the new record?
I really wanted to focus on melody and short songs that get to the point and don’t fuck around with six people on stage hitting a drum at random parts in the song. Just rock n’ roll music. I think The Anniversary always embraced not caring what anyone thought and that’s what made it fun and the people who got that band very much understood that.

After the album’s release in October, what is next for you?
Michael (drums) who is the other pivotal member of the band and was actually the original Anniversary drummer and I along with Zach Shoffner (guitar) and Brian Klein (bass) are touring the East Coast in October and West Coast in November. We will also have our chimp with us who sells merchandise and collects vintage Oakley Blades.